These Are The 11 Paintings You Need to See Right Now

Installation view of Sturtevant: Vice Versa, 2018
Installation view of Sturtevant: Vice Versa, 2018 | Courtesy Thaddeaus Ropac

Art & Design Editor

We can’t even begin to imagine how many paintings there are in the world, but if you do one thing this month, make sure you get to see these 11 paintings.

Girl Before A Mirror by Picasso

There are a lot of ladies in the Tate Modern’s major Picasso exhibition. One particular female muse became the subject of Picasso’s obsession, Marie-Thérèse Walter. Of the many works that you’ll encounter in the show that charts one year of frantic production from the 50-year old Spanish painter, it’s Girl before a Mirror that you want to make a bee-line for (in room 4). Unlike many of the seated or reclining nudes, here, Picasso plays with multiple perspectives and duplicity of character.
Picasso: 1932-Love, Fame, Tragedy is at Tate Modern, The Eyal Ofer Galleries, Bankside, London, SE1 9TG until September 9, 2018.

Pablo Picasso, Girl before a Mirror (Jeune fille devant un miroir), 1932

John Baldessari by David Hockney

This touring exhibition of famous faces finally finds itself in Hockney’s second home state of California at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. From Barry Humphreys to Frank Gehry, Hockney invited friends and family to sit for quick portraits, which he remarkably did over a couple of days. His depiction of the artist John Baldessari, painted over two days in December 2013 is a brilliantly calm and composed representation of a colossus of the LA art scene.
David Hockney:82 Portraits and 1 Still-life is at LACMA, 5905 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036 until July 29, 2018.

David Hockney, John Baldessari, 13th and 16th December 2013

Lichtenstein Girl with Hair Ribbon by Sturtevant

The copy-cat Pop Art artist that was Roy Lichtenstein, gets copied again by the late serial duplicator, Sturtevant. Employing Lichtenstein’s classic Ben-Day dots and bold yellow, Sturtevant doesn’t appropriate like Lichtenstein did but rather copies as precisely as possible. There are many works by famous artists in the American artist’s show Vice Versa, but it’s this dotty lady that caught our eye.
Sturtevant: Vice Versa is at Galerie Thaddeau Ropac, Ely House, 37 Dover street, London W1S 4NJ until March 29, 2018.

Sturtevant, Lichtenstein Girl with Hair Ribbon, 1966-1967

School of Beauty by Kerry James Marshall

Bringing together three phenomenal American contemporary artists, Figuring History bridges not only three generations but also more importantly challenges the norms of Western painting traditions. Kerry James Marshall uses the genre of history painting to readdress the lack of representation of people of colour within Western culture. His beauty salon scene is a vivid, detailed depiction of ladies enjoying the act of grooming. It incorporates a variety of motifs from the canon of art history, including a distorted female bust in the foreground that directly cites Holbein’s famous anamorphosis skull in his The Ambassadors (1533).

Figuring History: Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas is at Seattle Art Museum until May 13, 2018.

Kerry James Marshall, School of Beauty, School of Culture, 2012

Number 1 by Jackson Pollock

For six months you can experience a Jackson Pollock like never before at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (MOCA). Pollock’s abstract expressionist painting, Number 1, 1949 (1949) will undergo an extensive conservation treatment in public, revealing the hallowed practices of art restoration. On specific dates an on-site conservator will clean the surface of the painting to reveal brighter colours, returning the work to a closer version of its original creation, as well as answer any questions about the process.
Jackson Pollock’s Number 1, 1949: A Conservation Treatment is at MOCA Grand Avenue until September 3, 2018.

Jackson Pollock, Number 1, 1949, 1949. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, The Rita and Taft Schreiber Collection, Given in loving memory of her husband, Taft Schreiber, by Rita Schreiber

Tan Tan Bo Puking – a.k.a. Gero Tan by Takashi Murakami

Japanese artist and founder of Kaikai Kiki, Takashi Murakami has been given his first-ever retrospective in Canada at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Here, you can see over 50 works that span his career, which offer critical reflection on Japan today. Influenced by Buddhist folklore and traditional Japanese painting and taking inspiration from Japan’s otaku, a group of young anime and manga obsessive fans, Murakami has developed his graphic cartoon style to encompass painting, sculpture and animation. A repeated motif in Murakami’s work is a wide-eyed, smiling face, that in Tan Tan Bo Puking – a.k.a. Gero Tan (2002) seems to explore serious issues such as globalisation and threat of nuclear power but in Murakami’s cutesy style.
Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg opens at Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H7 until May 6, 2018.

Takashi Murakami, Tan Tan Bo Puking – a.k.a. Gero Tan, 2002

The Ten Largest by Hilma af Klint

A pioneer of abstract painting, the Swedish painter Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) opens the Pinacoteca de São Paulo’s 2018 exhibition programme. Although af Klint was largely unknown for the majority of 20th century, and even though her work predates Wassily Kandinsky, she has found recent fame for her work that was inspired by spiritual movements that represented the transcendental realm. Her most important series, considered ‘the first and foremost works of abstract art in the Western world’, The Ten Largest (1907) forms a highlight of the show. Representing the four ages of mankind: childhood, youth, maturity and old age, af Klint painted on paper, creating vibrantly coloured backgrounds that are populated by circular and oval forms, punctuated by spirals, words and botanical shapes.

Hilma af Klint: Mundos Possíveis (Hilma af Klint: Possible Worlds) is at the Pinacoteca de São Paulo, Parque da Luz, 02, São Paulo, Brazil until July 16, 2018.

Hilma af Klints, The Ten Largest, No. 3, Youth, Group IV, 1907

Prince Baltasar Carlos by Velázquez

Part of the Spanish Royal Collection housed at Museo del Prado is taking a tour to Japan this year to commemorate the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Spain and Japan. Of the paintings travelling to the Pacific Ocean, it’s Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez’s famous equestrian portrait of Prince Baltasar Carlos you want to see. Here, Velázquez’s use of rapid brushstrokes and advanced aerial perspective represent the Prince riding regally on the outskirts of Madrid against the Sierra de Guadarrama.
Velázquez and the Celebration of Painting: the Golden Age in the Museo del Prado is at National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo until May 27, 2018.

Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, Prince Baltasar Carlos, on Horseback, ca. 1635

Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud by Francis Bacon

Long viewed as artistic rivals, Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud’s relationship was far from straightforward. But from their first meeting in the mid-1940s, the two were fairly inseparable as they frequented the same bars and clubs in Soho, London and regularly visited each other’s studios. So Bacon’s large-scale painting, which was originally part of a triptych, is a key display in Tate Britain’s exhibition, All Too Human. The work hasn’t been on public display since 1965 and depicts a bare-chested Freud on a turquoise banquette in a darkened room, lit by a single light bulb.
All Too Human is at Tate Britain, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG until August 27, 2018.

Francis Bacon, Study for Portrait of Lucian Freud, 1964

Morons by Bansky

As art continues to garner astronomical amounts of money in auction houses, Banksy‘s witty Moron (2007) completely mocks the art auction house establishment. Currently on view at London’s Hang-Up Gallery’s Type exhibition, Banksy’s monochrome work was made after one of his own works on canvas sold for a record-breaking amount at auction. Using text as a way of causing ridicule, there is a certain amount of irony in the sentiment seeing as the artist has profited from the formal sale of his work. Disclaimer: although the work is technically a print, we had to include it, well because it’s Banksy!
Type is at Hang-Up Gallery, 81 Stoke Newington Road, London N16 8AD until May 6, 2018.

Banksy, Morons, 2007

American Gothic by Grant Wood

Probably one of the most recognisable portraits, Grant Wood’s American Gothic (1930) has become the stuff of cultural legend. Over the decades it’s become the most famous piece of Americana that’s been reproduced and parodied countless times from the moment it was exhibited at Art Institute of Chicago in October 1930. Inspired by the Northern Renaissance painters like Dürer and van Eyck, which Wood encountered during his numerous travels to Europe in the 1920s, the exceptionally detailed portrait has garnered numerous speculation. But there is no denying the father daughter couple – who were modelled on Wood’s sister and his dentist – have come to symbolise the moral upstanding of the Midwest during the Great Depression.

Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables is at the Whitney Museum of American Art until June 10, 2018.

Grant Wood, American Gothic, 1930

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